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Captiva residents pay tribute to Lloyd Wright

By Staff | Jan 27, 2016

Lloyd Wright was a world-wide traveler and he brought many friends along during his global adventures.

The largest tombstone in the Captiva Cemetery belongs to that of one of the most beloved island residents, Lloyd Wright.

The story goes the tombstone was made so big so “he wouldn’t float away” if the “big one ever hit”. But the large tombstone is also indicative of Wright’s lovable big personality and his love for life.

Friends and admirers of Wright’s gathered Tuesday, Jan. 19, inside the Captiva Community Center to pay tribute to the larger than life personality of the island.

Wright made his mark on the islands in many different ways, but his legacy is that of the many resorts/hotels he owned. Through his entrepreneur mastery of buying up land on Sanibel and Captiva and developing it, while remaining mindful of the environmental impact, Wright created many memories for those who knew him.

“Lloyd was a great visionary and he developed the island, yet he preserved it, as well,” said Captiva’s Paul McCarthy, who spoke of memories of Wright.

A panel of Captiva residents talked about memories with Lloyd Wright. BRIAN WIERIMA

Lloyd passed away 15 years ago, but his impact he left is still felt amongst many islanders yet today.

His parties he threw were epic, including the biggest one of them all – the U.S.A. Bicentennial Party.

“It was a great party,” said speaker and Wright friend Jeff Shuff.

Wright’s developmental mastery of the islands started with his first purchase, the West Wind Inn.

He later was a part of purchasing the ‘Tween Waters Inn, then the Beachview Cottages in 1979. But his biggest love was ‘Tween Waters, in which he helped develop it what it is today.

Paul McCarthy paid tribute to island legend Lloyd Wright Tuesday, Jan. 19. BRIAN WIERIMA

With his resort/hotel development going well on Captiva/Sanibel, Wright was afforded the opportunity to be a world-wide traveler. He made trips to all over the globe, including being one of the first visitor to get into China in 1978; the Galapagos Islands in which he visited over 40 times; Botswana, Africa 14 times, just to name a few.

“He always wanted to find the unique things in each place,” Shuff said.

A slideshow was also shown of all the humorous postcards he sent his personal assistant, who stayed behind to take care of his business affairs during his trips.

“Lloyd was a faithful friend and very humble,” McCarthy said. “He once told me that the incredible wealthy had a lot of luck to get that. He was certainly a humble person.”

Wright also made his mark through philanthropy on Captiva. He was the biggest influence of the SCCF’s acquisition of 70 acres on Buck Key, in which cost $1.6 million.

He also was a significant contributor for the creation of the Baileys-Matthews National Museum and the construction and formation of the Captiva Yacht Club.

“Without Lloyd, there would be no Yacht Club,” McCarthy included.

After his death, Wright was buried in the Captiva Cemetery, where he has a “place of honor on this island.”

The memories and economic impact Wright left behind will always be felt by Captiva, which is the best legacy the beloved islander could ever have.